Counting Bears Is Not Rocket Science
The Amazing Race 6: Episode 3


It's a plane! Previously, from the Blue Lagoon in Iceland to Voss in Norway, some Teams misplaced their wits (the Superdumbos), navigation skills, brains (Tori), and soul (Pornathan). In the end, however, the M&Ms are generally too slow to catch up with the rest. Oh, and their inability to drive stick doesn't help them in any way. So at the end of the day they have to say goodbye while nine more Teams remain to duke it out in a Race for a million bucks. Philo wonders who will be eliminated next. Alas, it's not who should be eliminated as much as who unfortunately end up eliminated. Sigh.

Credits. Sometimes life isn't so sweet. Sometimes life outright sucks. And when it does, all I have to do is to look at the awkward "happy" poses the Teams have to strike in the credits and my life doesn't seem so bad after all. Even at my lowest, I don't have to star in some cheap three-second insurance commercial moment.

Ah, Norway. A land of snow and ice and a few things that the rest of the world don't give a damn about, fairly or unfairly. At least in Finland they have happy parties where we all get to club baby seals and shoot reindeer for fun. What does Norway have to offer? Philo comes out in his latest attempt to look ugly and says that Norway is a place that is "relatively untouched" by the "modern world". So now we have a few sets of implants courtesy of our models and Playboy bunnies of this season along with a huge dose of clap from Pornathan deflowering Norway's virgin soils. Ah, Norway will never be the same again. Philo is standing at the ancient farm outside of Voss that was the Pit Stop of the last leg of the Race. He wonders whether the usual suspects will keep bickering as usual and whether the Mormodels will get out of last place. Oh, those Mormodels. I hate how this show can turn out sometimes.

The creepy smiley bobbleheads that are the Templates are ready to read the clue and bobblehead themselves to wherever it is that the Clue wants them to go at 2:47 am. As it turns out, they must drive for about ten miles back to Voss and, get a train is Oslo, then get a bus to Stockholm, Sweden. How nice that the show is even telling them what method of transportation to use. I'm sure one of these days they will just bring in a plane that will fly directly to the Pit Stop and drama will arise from an hour footage of Teams brawling to get onto that plane. But I guess sometimes such detailed instructions on the so-called Clue (more like "Directions", really) are necessary or I will have to watch the Superdumbos driving all the way to Beijing while looking for Stockholm in Siberia. Anyway, in Stockholm Teams must locate the famous Absolut Icebar, called just the Icebar here for some reason. I must confess that I don't get the appeal of getting drunk in a freezing bar. I may as well do that in a meat locker. Maybe the whole freezing gimmick is a nice ploy to see erect nipples or something but since everyone is looking like an Eskimo in the Icebar, I don't think so. But enough about me. The Templates smile and go. All that's missing is some happy theme song, like Captain Planet and The Planeteers, perhaps. Jon even says that he wants them to keep going, stay on course, and go for gold. Yes, go, go Planeteers, woo!

2:53 am. The STDs are ready to slither out of the pit. Tori says that Pornathan has his "own way" of "doing things" (read: scream like a baby 24/7) and that's why she loves him - because he's never boring! So when she tells him that she knows of the Icebar and he snaps at her that there is no way she could know of it, the ice in her voice is actually warm honey of her love dripping from her lips. When she says that her Swedish friend (Heidi the porn model?) tells her about it, she is thinking that there is no woman in the world luckier than she is because she is in love with Pornathan. And when he tells her to shut up, oh, ain't love wonderful? Incidentally, if these two jokers want to go on TV and play at being villains, the least they could do is to play entertaining villains. But these two are pathetic. His vocabulary is limited to "Shut up!" and "Shut up!" delivered in a high-pitched sissy scream while she is more pitiful than anything else. By the way, if she and her husband want to keep adding "Playboy Bunny" before her name on their website, she should think about not looking like some fortysomething woman who is suffering from alcoholic withdrawal symptoms.

2:54 am. Girl and Girth get ready to leave. They count the money they receive for this leg of the Race - $363 - and as they walk to their vehicle, Hera says to the camera that her father may not be in the best of shape (may?) but she's proud of him because he's "die hard". Yeah, of a stroke, most likely, if he doesn't watch his diet and blood pressure. Oops, that isn't what Hera means by "die hard"? My mistake, sorry.

3:06 am. Everyone loves Hollywood but what about the Mollywoods? They run for their vehicle and Hayden reassures the camera that they are here to win and they will do what it takes to achieve that. I can breathe easier now. I'm actually starting to believe that they are strolling through the park that is life and all that, so her reassurance is most timely indeed!

The Tick rips open the Clue envelope at 3:07 am, showing the world the wonderful things steroids can do to one's biceps, and as he and Captain Liberty leave for their vehicles, he grumbles that he has had only six hours of nap time in the last four days. Don't ask me what he and his wife are doing in the Pit Stops. I'm not the kind of person with a fetish for overbulky steroidal people doing things to each other's naked bodies so I do not want to even begin to imagine.

3:20 am. The Goth-Nots leave, Adam Ant talks about how he wants to "take care" of Rebecca but unfortunately, he is scared of so many things like the zipline and what-not and Rebecca ends up having to take care of him instead. Not that there's anything wrong with a woman taking care of a man, I'm sure. This is the twenty-first century after all and wimpiness is the new aftershave for sexy men. Rebecca says to the camera that Adam Ant is like some five-year old and she has to treat him as such at times. She sometimes wonders whether she's his girlfriend, mother, or babysitter. She should get together with me and some of my friends one of these days and we'll share stories about our menfolk. Rebecca, honey, trust me: men are babies. We women just let them think that they know everything because it's easier to manage them that way.

3:46 am. The Fre&Ks leave. Hey, shouldn't the DMJs be leaving first? As they leave, Kendra tells the camera about how Freddy tends to agonize over their small mistakes on the Race and she hopes that he will understand that sometimes it is better to just focus on the big picture. Or something. Awww, but Freddy is pretty! So pretty! I wish I have more to say about this Team, really.

It is 3:54 am when cutthroat granny and her rather wimpy but adorable hubby finally show up. Philo explains that the DMJs have been given a thirty-minute time penalty for accidentally taking the Goth-Nots' van in the last leg of the Race so they are leaving only now. Eh, so how does Philo account for the extra four minutes? As the DMJs leave, Mary Jean says that they initially planned to be intelligent and use the smarts their experiences in life have given them to go far on this Race but so far, she concludes wryly, they have been neither smart or savvy. Heh!

And finally, the Mormodels leave at 4:05 am. Lena finds the notion of taking a bus to Stockholm quite unpleasant while Kristy says that they should rely on other people for as little as possible because the Mormodels work better alone.

Lookee here, the Templates are asking about tickets and departure times for the train to Oslo at what seems like the convenience store section of a petrol kiosk. The STDs drive past them straight to the station, with Pornathan as usual ragging on Tori for whatever it is that she has done to deserve his scolding. Breathing? Talking? I don't know. Girl and Girth catch up with the STDs soon after the STDs reach the station and Pornathan tells Fat Gus that the station seems to be closed. The Templates arrive next and Jon tells the other Teams what he's learned from the dweeb manning the petrol kiosk counter: the station only opens at 6:00 am. It is now 3:45 am. Yay, bunching! We can't get enough of those on this show, I tell you. The Superdumbos arrive with style next, with the Tick talking at the top of his voice and Captain Liberty asking him to tone it down, which he does after a sheepish apology to her. He's like her happy loud pet or something. The remaining Teams soon file in according to the order they depart the Pit Stop.

Tick, tick, tick. I wonder what those people do to pass the time. Play hopscotch? Eventually 6:00 am arrives and the station is opened for business. Everyone gets on the same train, expectedly, and they spend the time catching up on lost sleep. I wonder how many flies Aaron manage to catch with his mouth. At Oslo, all Teams get on the same Safflebussen bus too. The suspense as to who will be the first to dash out of the bus is killing me. And then, voila, they arrive in Stockholm and everyone makes a mad grab for their bags and what-not from the side luggage compartment. You know, I once left behind my bags in one of those compartments (hey, I was sleepy when I got off the bus and it had been a long trip) and had to chase the bus for five minutes while screaming at the top of my lungs until it stopped. I'm happy that these folks remember to retrieve their stuff. A funny thing happens next: the Teams splinter off in different directions. The Goth-Nots and the Superdumbos go one way, with the Tick reassuring Adam Ant that he knows where to go. He should know better, but Adam Ant just gets Rebecca to follow the Superdumbos. Pornathan is telling Tori off for being too slow for his liking while the STDs run off in another direction. Girl and Girth run off in an opposite direction from the general direction the other Teams have taken off to and realize something is wrong when they end up at the wrong street.

The Mollywoods are the first Team to arrive at the Icebar, where they realize that in order to receive their next clue, they must now play a little game. Philo steps out to explain that Team members must try to slide a cute square ice-shaped alcohol-filled glass across the ice bar. The person that gets the glass to stop at a red mark at the end of the bar will get the Clue for his or her Team. Team members will line up in the order they come in and anyone who fails will have to go to the back of the line and wait for his or her turn to try again. Philo also explains that the temperature is "twenty-three degrees" which for some reason necessitates the Teams to gear up to look like eskimos. Is twenty-three degrees really that cold?

After the Mollywoods, in come the Templates and the Fre&Ks. Pretty models stick together, I see. No wonder they can never go away. Everyone's attempt either falls short of reaching the mark or overshoots completely. In the meantime, the Mormodels and the STDs join the party, followed by the DMJs. If Don thinks that the Icelanders are spiked, I can't wait to hear his opinion of those funny alcoholic penguins that are the Swedes. Much later, the Goth-Nots, no doubt regretting their decision to follow the Superdumbos, reach the Icebar with the Superdumbos. On the other hand, Hera and Fat Gus are familiarizing themselves with as many streets of Stockholm as they can as they wander around looking for the Icebar. I'm sure the extra effort on their part will come into play at some later stages of the Race. Hera has no regrets turning down Streetwise Sam's offer to be her Race partner in favor of Fat Gus, no indeedy!

The Templates, who are turning out to be quite the rather-inhuman creepy-smiley can't-do-wrong too-pretty and boring-as-hell people, get to leave first when Jon succeeds in sending his glass onto that mark. Their Clue tells them to go look for Sweden's most popular export (after ABBA and Roxette, of course), IKEA. Or rather, the world's biggest IKEA in some "neighborhood" nearby. I'm so disappointed that it's IKEA instead of Roxette. I want Roxette, YEAH YEAH YEAH! And off they go, with Kris telling Jon what a great job he did at the Icebar. I love one-dimensional pretty and capable people.

The Tick manages to score one for his Team and the Superdumbos are up and away. Don may not approve of spiked Icelanders but he's a pro in this ice bar when he scores one for his missus. Somewhere outside, Fat Gus tells Hera that he can't run anymore and is so miserable that they are lost. Hera sighs, probably wishing that she has said yes to Athletic Aaron's offer to join her for this Race. They ask a guy for directions and are rightfully flabbergasted when he tells them that they are standing right in front of the building (the Nordic Sea Hotel). Yup, the Icebar is somewhere in the Nordic Sea Hotel. As they walk into the Icebar, the Mormodels quickly finish at the task, followed by the STDs and the Mormodels. Adam Ant scores too, leaving Girl and Girth and the Fre&Ks to duke it out. And guess what: Fat Gus succeeds in what seems like his first attempt. Maybe Hera turning down Alcoholic Abe's offer to be on this Race is a good idea after all. Finally, Kendra manages to nail it for the Fre&Ks and the Icebar lady is now free to wipe up the broken shards and spilled alcohol on the floor.

In their cab, Hera says that patience is very important for this task because look at them - they came in last and got out second last. I don't think it is patience as much as luck but hey, I guess she needs to find a way to console herself for taking Fat Gus with her on this Race instead of one of her many male admirers back home. On a lesser note, Freddy pronounces IKEA as "I-K-A". Maybe that's how the French pronounce it, with him being an avant-garde model and all that, you know.

I suppose that IKEA has a good reason to be closed until 10:00 am. I mean, I'm sure the Race designers won't be so idiotic as to introduce an artifical bunching so soon after the inevitable transport bunch, right? They aren't so stupid as to eliminate any effort of the Racers in the Icebar, right? I mean, if IKEA can halt its daily business transactions to accommodate the taping of this show, it will definitely open its doors to the Racers, be it 11:00 pm or 10:00 am, I'm sure. So this instance where IKEA is closed until 10:00 am the next morning must clearly be some oversight on the management's part. The people behind this Race are never so stupid. They won't cram the cast with a monotonous selection of bland White Young Models and they won't introduce so many pointless bunchings that eliminate any suspense in the show. Oh wait. So anyway, as the Templates find out, IKEA won't be open until 10:00 am in the morning. They are soon joined by every other Team in the Race and it's always a big happy family as everyone does his or her thing while waiting for IKEA to open.

Finally, IKEA opens its welcoming doors to the great unwashed and the Teams dash in and scramble along the aisles all over the place. I hope they know where they are going to. Adam Ant manages to spot the clue stand first and quickly pounces on it. Close on his heels are the Superdumbos. The Superdumbos are so much more efficient when they are following instead of leading. It is now time for a Detour. Philo Koughie, looking quite dashing as he walks along the aisles of IKEA (eat your heart out, Ty Pennington!), comes out to say that Teams must now choose one of the two possible tasks an IKEA employee should be familiar with. "Count it" will require a Team to count the number of stuffed toys, pans, and pots. The correct answer is 2,304. "Build it" will see the Team trying to put together a particleboard (I have to look up the IKEA catalogue to find out what that thing is called) according to the manual given. Hubby and I once spent two hours trying to assemble a small cabinet because the diagrams on that manual and the parts they sold us don't match. I hope the manual they receive is better than that particular manual that came with the expensive mistake of ours.

Adam Ant doesn't want to count but Rebecca doesn't want to build things. Because she's his mother, he agrees that the Goth-Nots will do the counting. The Superdumbos get down to count too. The DMJs find the clue stand next and Mary Jean wants to build but Don wants to count instead. They end up deciding to count. Pornathan says that Tori is good at "assembling" (he must be confusing Tori for her plastic surgeon) so they will build. I hope he isn't implying that she will be building the particleboard by herself. The Mollywoods and the Fre&Ks both decide to count. The Templates build. The Mormodels count. Girl and Girth decide to build.

The Superdumbos and the Goth-Nots are looking for the "marked" counting area when the Tick calls out for them to go "right here, right here". "Right here" turns out to be "no way, dear" and he tells Captain Liberty sheepishly that he is "just looking". Heh, what a dumb galoot. While they are still looking, some Teams have already located the correct area. The Mollywoods take one look at the huge pile of rubbish they must count and quickly dash off to build the particleboard instead. The Fre&Ks meanwhile decide to stay put and start counting. Kendra counts the stuffed animals (how typical) and tells Freddy to count the pots and pans. The Goth-Nots arrive and Rebecca takes the stuffed animals while Adam Ant takes the pots and pans. Adam points out that two pans are tied up together and wonders whether that should be counted as one or two. Good question. That's why I'd rather build than count anytime. The Superdumbos also split up the duties, with the Tick taking the stuffed animals because he's such a cuddly wuddly doofy that way. The Mormodels on the other hand decide to count together in unison, starting with the stuffed animals: "One, two..." The DMJs can't seem to locate the counting area. They should have asked the Tick. At the other end of the hall, the remaining Teams begin to open boxes and pore over manuals in order to build a super-duper shiny particleboard.

The Tick complains that counting is hard. It is hard indeed as he counts, "66... 68... 80..." The camera zooms on the IKEA supervisor standing beside him and trying not to giggle out loud. Across the hall at Particleboard Workshop, the Mollywoods, the Templates, and Girl and Girth are doing just fine with their nails and screws and planks. The STDs are predictably at it again with Pornathan once more screaming at Tori like some stupid baby. Back at the Hall of Garbled Counting, Lena misses her count and has to start again. Oops. Adam accidentally puts some of the things Rebecca is counting back into the pile of uncounted items, earning him her vocal ire. The Ticks spend more time fighting than counting. This is how the DMJs find them when the DMJs finally arrive. Instead of fleeing to the Particleboard Workshop like any sane person would, they get down to count as well. The Mormodels come up with 1891 and the Fre&Ks with 1872. The Superdumbos count 1985. Captain Liberty at once recognizes the mistake all three Teams must have made: the pots that come in twos like Adam held up earlier should be counted as two items instead of one. Oops, the DMJs are doing that same mistake right now. The Goth-Nots are also wrong and everyone gets back to counting. They are not happy. The Tick tries to sum up 259 and 38 in his brain. Good luck on that one, buddy!

Over at Particleboard Workshop, Tori offers a reasonable advice and naturally Pornathan takes this as some personal affront that he must scream and yell back at Tori in response. Aaron tells him to stop shouting. There is no doubt that the other Teams cannot stand Pornathan so the world isn't such a bad place after all. The Templates are again the first to complete the Detour and gets the Clue from the supervisor. I think I should be liking this good-natured, always smiling duo but there is something about their child-like demeanors and unnaturally perky attitude that creeps me out and makes me think of animated cannibal Barbie and Ken dolls. I guess I'm just weird like that sometimes. They learn that they must find their way to Haggvik (by train, the Clue helpfully tells them), use the tandem bikes provided at the Haggvik station, and then locate what Philo calls a "rural farm" (as opposed to "the farm in the middle of the city", naturally).

Kristy guesses 3168 and Freddy 2309. Dang, Freddy is so close. Fat Gus and Hera finish the building Detour, with Hera saying that her father was a surgeon and she was the nurse in that Detour. Deep. The Mollywoods also have a shiny new particleboard in their hands so they get their Clue too. Pornathan takes the opportunity to berate Tori for being so slow at building that stupid thing.

Having been freed from IKEA, the Templates are looking for directions to the subway station that will take them to Haggvik. They will be getting there on foot, it seems. Girl and Girth on the other hand decide to take a cab there. The Mollywoods decide to get to the station on foot too. I'm sure there is a correlation between Fat Gus and taking a cab to the station.

Back at IKEA, Freddy makes one more wrong guess and says that he cannot resume counting. The DMJs submit their guess and it's wrong too. The Mormodels on the other hand believe that there are 2,304 items altogether and tells their supervisor so. The naughty woman only asks them in an incredulous tone whether their answer is final. The Mormodels hesitate but say yes anyway. To their delight, they receive their next Clue! The other counting Teams are not into their delight though, understandably. In other news, the STDs finally get that particleboard all built up and get their Clue. Pornathan tells the hunky supervisor that he love Sweden and in fact, he loves every country he visits. The hunky supervisor looks like he can't make up his mind as to what protozoan subspecies Pornathan belongs to. Don't think so hard, cutie, just crush that jerk under those sturdy shoes, thanks.

Girl and Girth reach the station first and Fat Gus, already wheezing as if he's on his last legs despite having taken a cab all the way here, has to suffer some more when they try to buy tickets with US Dollars only to be told by the ticket counter person that the station only accepts the local currency. They leave, missing out on the Mollywoods and the Templates having a nice joyful reunion as the four bland pretty people talk about how Pornathan keeps screaming at his wife.

Cut to Pornathan screaming at his wife in the cab. Normally at this point I will be so numbed to his ridiculous over-the-top antics and I hope he would choke on that Strepsil he would be taking for his sore throat, but at one point he raises his arm and his elbow nearly hits Tori's face. I don't know if it's accidental or deliberate, but I do know that Tori's reaction to that gesture is... well, let's just say that it is the look of a woman who has been beaten before by her husband. She reacts by flinching but it's not a defensive flinch as much as it seems to be an instinctive "move out of his way because he is going to strike again" gesture. I hate to believe that Pornathan beats his wife and I really don't want to speculate based on a brief edited footage from a TV show, but Tori's expression is painful to watch.

I really question the rationale of the idiots who allow these two to come onto this show instead of sending them to the shrink for some much-needed psychiatric evaluation. I mean, am I supposed to enjoy watching these two and speculate on whether it's all an act or he really treats his wife this way? If I am the producer of this show, I'd be praying hard that these two are eliminated soon, right after I fire those idiots that allow those two to be on the show. They are ruining the show. It is impossible not to feel at least ten different negative emotions whenever those two are on the TV. When I actually begin to worry whether Tori needs professional help to get out of her marriage to that ass, that's when this show stops being entertaining and starts turning into some trashy Jerry Springer moment that I don't need to see.

After changing their money, Girl and Girth return to the station just in time to see the train carrying the Templates and the Mollywoods pull out. They wait in the station for the next train and are soon joined up by the STDs and the Mormodels.

Back at IKEA, the Fre&Ks finally get the counting correct and they are off. Shortly after, the Goth-Nots get it right too and they happily scram. I don't think they will be considering IKEA for their furniture purchases for the foreseeable future. The remaining two Teams, the DMJs and the Superdumbos, are not pleased. In fact, they look like they're just one Prozac pill short of outright depression. The Tick tries a few guesses and they are all wrong. Don walks to the supervisor overseeing the DMJs, a sweet young lady, and tries to plead with her to give them a break because they are the "oldest people", being "forty years older than the rest of them". Hey, that is not nice! Old people can count too, Don! The young lady smiles and she is definitely unsure as to how to handle Don. She just shakes her head repeatedly. Don offers a few random guesses and she shakes her head to all of them. He asks for some clue. How about this clue, Don: it's a number, a big one? Mary Jean asks from where she is sitting whether their answer is right. Don cuts short the embarrassing pleadings to go back and tell her sadly that their answer is wrong.

The Tick grumbles that it is ridiculous how long and how many times he is counting those stuffed toys, pans, and pots. Don seems to have gone past his breaking point already, getting down on his knees and resting his forehead wearily against a bin. Mary Jean tells him calmly that they will just have to get back to counting. He seems to find some reassurance in his wife's calm but firm tone and slowly gets back to work by her side. He tells the camera that he knows that counting bears isn't rocket science but he is unable to count them straight no matter how hard he tries. It's obvious that the Race is taking its toll on Don, if not Mary Jean, physically as well as mentally and I hope they pull through this because I really like this Team. Meanwhile, the Tick wearily tosses four pans back into the bin, muttering to himself that he needs to count the pans all over again. Captain Liberty, who has been counting those pans all along, notices what he has done and screeches at him to stop. She asks him how many pans he has put back into the bin. He shrugs. Two, maybe three, he says. It's four, actually. Captain Liberty says something under her breath as she resigns herself to counting those pans all over again from the start. Yes, I don't think any of these Teams will want to set foot in IKEA for a while after the Race, at least until they stop shuddering in terror at the sight of the shiny new pans and pots lined up in the kitchen utensil section.

Outside, the Fre&Ks and the Goth-Nots are waiting for cabs to stop by so that they can grab one each to get to the subway station. Freddy is explaining to Kendra that a subway train is actually a train. It's impressive what people can not know sometimes. The cabs arrive and the two Teams are off.

The Mollywoods and the Templates have arrived at Haggvik and are getting onto the tandem bikes to go look for this "rural farm". The Templates are naturally efficient and happy. I understand that on their trip to the farm they even manage to solve at least six astronomic problems that have baffled astronomers since Deutoronomy. You can't do nothing if you ain't happy, after all. Hayden on the hand is creating some minor drama because she is seated behind Aaron and Aaron's backpack is blocking her view. I'm sure those times when Aaron suddenly stops the bike and sends Hayden's face crashing into his backpack are accidental.

While the two Teams leave IKEA at about the same time, the Fre&Ks manage to miss the train that will be taking the Goth-Nots to Haggvik. This is becoming a bad habit for the Fre&Ks, starting out strong but ending the Race near the bottom of the pack. Since the next train will arrive in ten minutes, Kendra notes gloomily that the other two Teams have a good chance of catching up with them.

Back to IKEA, the remaining two Teams each offer one last (wrong) guess before doing what we Giggles would have done ages ago were we in their shoes (and I'm not talking about going berserk and destroying things in IKEA): they bail out and try their hands at a building a particleboard.

The Templates are so happy! They are just cruising about in Stockholm, they tell me. How nice of them. They will make great neighbors and all that, I'm sure, but I'm also certain that their Stepford Models act will drive me crazy in no time. They will say the right things, do the right things, and I will end up talking to them only to borrow their always-working and tip-top gardening tools because they are just too darned nice. They and the less sunny Mollywoods indulge in some minor good-natured competitiveness that results in the Mollywoods overtaking them. Does it matter? Jon is perfect: he has a great body, great teeth, and probably gives Kris multiple orgasms without any effort on his part. Kris is beautiful, hot, probably can eat all she wants and never gets fat, and cellulite melts away in the heat of her perfection. I don't resent them, mind you, but I find myself hoping that somehow they will screw up a little, lose some temper, anything to make them, you know, come off as a little less perfect.

At the "rural farm", there is a Yield post. Philo explains that for this Race, there are only four Yields in the whole Race (does that mean that the Fast Forward is eliminated completely?) and Teams must decide when it is advantangeous to use it, blah blah blah. As if one will need the right time to sabotage someone else, surely! The Teams are obviously annoyed at having to stop and say what seems to be some hackneyed script the show forces them to say ("We are not Yielded and we choose not to Yield anybody!") and I can see them trying hard not to roll up their eyes at having to say those words. And then it's time for the Roadblock. "Who has hay fever?" the Clue asks. Philo explains that there are 270 hay bales in the farm (hubby snorts and suspects that they are more likely straw bales than the heavier hay bales) and Teams must unroll and unwrap the bales to find their next clue. Out of 270 bales, only 20 contain the Clues. Good luck, people!

The men decide to perform the Roadblock and they get down to business. Hayden and Kris have a cute exchange where Kris explains to Hayden just what exactly the men have to do and Hayden just nods and says that they will be here for quite some time then. Aaron manages to make a funny crack about having to take part in a "strong man competition" in a dodgy Californian accent while Jon just smiles and gets down to business. That's why I prefer the Mollywoods with their bitchings and Hayden's trashy tank-tops and cycling shorts - they are, at least witty and bitchy. I'm sure there are people who adore the Templates though and I'll be the first to say, "Good for you!" But me being me, I like to root for Teams who are a little bitchy and sometimes witty.

The second train carrying the STDs, Girl and Girth, and the Mormodels arrives at Haggvik. Back to the Rustic Farm, Hayden gets impatient with Aaron while Kris just giggles when she watches Jon at work. I actually shudder at hearing that giggle. Yes, I definitely am a Hayden person. Go, Hayden and Aaron! Um, anyway, it has to be Jon who gets the Clue first. He probably has X-ray vision along with superhuman strength and a ten-inch penis. Kris jumps up and down and cheers while clapping her hands and again I give another shudder. When she runs to Jon and hugs him while telling him that he did "nice work", I feel the fear of the Stepford Barbie in me. Jon says in a happy face that the Roadblock sucked. "Yes, it did!" she happily says, agreeing with him. Holy Mother of Snark, save me from these two creatures. In their own way, Marty and Mary Sue here are starting to creep me out completely.

As they laugh and read their Clue (shudder), Philo comes out to explain that Teams can now check it at the Pit Stop, a ship called the af Chapman. It's the world's third oldest iron-built ship dating back to 1888, by the way, which Philo doesn't say. It's a pity because I think this is something they should mention on the show. After all, if they bother to showcase the af Chapman, why not let the audience in on some interesting trivia, no?

As the Templates leave, Aaron gives a loud hallelujah as he too finds his Clue in a bale of hay. God will be amused, I'm say. One could say that mankind finds a clue and even salvation in a manger, after all.

Just to remind me that they haven't died, razed Ikea to the ground, or ran around threatening the supervisors with an electric drill, the show cuts to the DMJs and the Superdumbos in IKEA trying their best not to look like homicidal maniacs working away at a pile of screws, nails, and wooden pieces. IKEA needs some good advertising and good PR in return for the show abusing its staff and products, after all. Look at the Tick working away, ladies and gentlemen! The way his steroidal biceps clench with barely suppressed frustration as he hammers away! Don's gritted jaw and his sexy handsome face contorted in exhaustion like a Real Man would after a hard day at carpentry! Get your particleboard at IKEA today! Endless hours of fun guaranteed. And for the first 10,000 lucky viewers of this show, they will even throw in 2,304 miniature stuffed toys, pans, and pots for even more family fun!

It begins to rain when the Goth-Nots get off the train at Haggvik. A very wet Adam Ant and Rebecca cycle in the rain. Altogether now, people: Rainbows keep falling on my head... Shortly after, the Fre&Ks disembark from the next train. ... And just like the guy who's feet are too big for his bed, nothing seems to fit!

The Mormodels actually roll up their eyes as they force themselves to step on the Yield Mat and say that they aren't being Yielded and they aren't Yielding anyone. Lena starts rolling the hay. The STDs show up next. Pornathan announces even without reading the Clue that Tori is going to do it. He takes the sissy foxline zip Roadblock and gives his wife the hay-rolling one. Nice. Fat Gus and Hera are next and no, they aren't being Yielded and they aren't Yielding anyone either. I wonder the Race designers know how stupid the Racers look, them taking turns to stand on the Yield mat and saying, "We aren't being Yielded and we are not Yielding anybody!" again and again. One of these days those Racers may chance upon a better and more abbreviated way of saying the canned sentence, like showing a middle finger or just peeing on the Yield post. I'm just saying, of course.

Tori begins whining that she can't breathe as she starts pushing at a bale of hay. Those things are heavy. Pornathan of course starts berating her as if it's her fault that she's trying not to breathe. One of these days he's going to be beaten up by the old ladies he meets in the local Wal*Mart. I don't normally advocate violence on a fellow human being but this putrid example of slime deserves every bash of the umbrella he gets on his head and rear end. Lena, on the other hand, is carrying on like a trooper. She tells the camera that she has caught hay fever and her hands are cut from working at the hay bales. Hera watches as her father struggles alongside the women and say that this Roadblock is a tough one.

The Mollywoods and the Templates are waiting for the train to take them back to Stockholm and to the af Chapman. Kris is still talking about how the Roadblock "sucked". Her hands are still cut... hey, wait a minute. One of these days she'll really have to start saying something interesting on this show instead of just smiling and performing with robot-like efficiency on this show. Who does she think she is? Samantha Stephens?

The Superdumbos finally come up with a particleboard that meets the approval of their IKEA supervisor. They get to leave. What, no souvenir from IKEA? How about a board game, at least? As they leave, the Tick tells the Captain Liberty that they have been at this Detour for five hours. So he can count! Watching the Superdumbos leave, Mary Jean can't believe that the DMJs are in last place. How can that be, she wonders aloud. Their plan to capitalize on their experience and intelligence isn't working too well, I'm afraid. Still, she reassures Don that they can finish this Detour and gets back to work. She doesn't say die and I like that.

While Lena and Fat Gus are struggling, Tori simply and superficially rummages at a hay and what do you know, she finds a Clue. This is one of those rare times where I screech in disgust and actually throw an orange to the TV. Luckily I miss and the orange hit the wall instead.

There's a bronze hand in the lake pointing towards the af Chapman. If the hand is showing its middle finger pointing at the sky in perfect synchrony to how I am feeling after watching Tori stumble upon the Clue without even trying, I am moving to Sweden. Anyway, the Mollywoods and the Templates reach the Finishing Mat without much ado and Philo, with the seafaring VIP smiling ornamentally beside him, welcomes the Mollywoods as team number one (and giving them a free trip to "exotic Mexico") and the Templates as team number two. The Templates are happy, smiley, and kissy-wissy. Stop that, stop them, aaaargh!

Fat Gus finds a clue and he and Hera take off, leaving Lena to work the hay some more. The Goth-Nots show up and Adam is up to the challenge. Mommy will approve, I'm sure. The Fre&Ks show up and Freddy decides to rise to the occasion. I approve. It is raining, by the way, and the three Teams, especially the Mormodels, are obviously having a miserable time.

The DMJs finally complete the particleboard and receive their Clue. They share a kiss and reaffirm their love because, you know, they are so sweet that way. Don really makes me laugh when he opens the Clue and hopes that it tells them to go to a hospital. I hope they get at least as far as the Tokens in the third season although I've mentally prepared to deal with their elimination since the first episode. When they leave, they are probably as surprised as I am to find the Superdumbos still waiting outside IKEA for a cab. The Superdumbos are definitely going to Target for their furniture from now on. When the DMJs get to the station faster than the Superdumbos, I think the Tick and Captain Liberty will be thinking, yup, definitely Target.

Because the STDs take off on foot from the train station at Stockholm while Fat Gus and Hera take a bus, Girl and Girth reach the af Chapman first as team number three. The STDs are team number four. They are dead to me. Freddy finds the clue back at the Hay-Ya Farm. Lena is still struggling. I don't know what she is doing wrong because she is searching the hay bales throughly, unrolling each one entirely. Is it because she is working slower than the men? I don't know but I have said this more than once: until the Race finds a way to balance their tasks so that women have a chance to stay in the Race, women should try and find a strong male partner to Race with. When someone as gutsy and tenacious as the Bates Sisters of the fifth season - who are strong and capable - get knocked out by a ridiculously unfair Roadblock while useless parasites like Christie, Joan, and Kim Quota breeze to the Top Three on the shoulders of their Dudley Do-Everything male partners... seriously ladies, get a man because that's the only way to break the glass ceiling of this show. Freddy tells Lena as he leaves with Kendra that the Clue is easy to spot so she should, er, I don't know what she should do but it's nice of him to reassure Lena, I guess. Kristy, watching Lena, says that she won't be able to work as hard and as long as Lena out there. She concludes sadly that the whole day has been nothing but miserable.

The Goth-Nots greet Philo happily as team number five on the Finishing Mat.

Oh no, look who have arrived in Haggvik. Mary Jean tells Don that of all the people they should be racing against, they end up racing with two people who have the "most muscular legs in the world". I want to be just like Mary Jean when I grow up, although I'd want to be a little faster than her, no offense to Mary Jean. The Superdumbos are nice not to Yield the DMJs so Kristy sighs when she realizes that the last Teams have caught with with her and Lena. The Tick and Don get down to rumble. It isn't easy for Don who is already exhausted mentally and he is soon coughing hard. Kristy offers Lena a drink from her water bottle and I admire and commend her for remaining calm when I know it must be truly frustrating to see other Teams finish the Roadblock while Lena seems to have no luck in it. The Tick finds his Clue and Kristy watches unhappily as the Superdumbos take off.

The Fre&Ks reach the Pit Stop as team number six.

Don wonders aloud whether anyone ever has a bad day like he has today. Um, Don, give Lena and Kristy a call. They have a nice story to tell. And then Don finds the Clue. Yeah, he has a tough day, that Don. He and Mary Jean get on their bike and he tells her to pedal like she's never pedalled before. I believe she will do that even if he has not told her to.

Lena is really exhausted and she tells Kristy that she can't keep doing it anymore. Kristy gently tells her that she may have overlooked the Clue lying somewhere on the ground. Lena just replies that she is not able to spend another seven hours pushing and rolling hales of hay. In her voiceover, Kristy says that Lena has worked the hardest on this Roadblock. Goodness, has Lena been at it for seven hours? Kristy says that there is a chance that this may be a non-elimination round so Lena wearily goes back to pushing and rolling those stupid bales of hay. I hate bales of hay now. I say we set them all on fire. It is very dark when she is still working. At that point Philo comes in and tells them that the last Team (the DMJs) have checked in "more than two hours ago". He also adds that Lena has been pushing about a hundred bales of hay in eight hours. Alas, this is an elimination round, which is so darned unfair when I think of it, because this Roadblock is all about stupid luck and physical strength that Lena doesn't have and they are eliminated because of that. I don't know whether to laugh because the whole thing leading up to the Mormodels' elimination has a farcical feel to it or cry because it is really unfair that Lena has to work so hard only to be punished for it.

Anyway, Philo starts doing what he is actually really lousy at: giving armchair talk-show Q&A to the contestants. He asks Lena why she works so hard at the Roadblock when other people have given up in the past when success seemed impossible to attain. Lena says that she doesn't want to disappoint her big sister Kristy and Kristy hugs her and reassures Lena that she hasn't disappointed Kristy in any way. And with that, the Mormodels, who have been reasonably competent, admirably tough, and valiantly determined, leave the Race while the shrieking rat Pornathan and his wife get to stay for another leg of the Race. Normally I would say that the Race can work in this way, c'est la vie and all that, but this time, the Mormodels' elimination really strikes me as one of the worst injustices to fall on a Team in this Race. Life sucks? Yes, I know, but this one? It bites.

Adieu, Lena and Kristy. I've grown to like these ladies in the brief time they are on the Race and at the end of the day, they go out fighting with grit and class. It's small compensation to not winning a million dollars, I know, but when I want to say thank you to them for playing, I really mean it this time.


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